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When it comes to web development, brands have to decide whether to hire in-house web developers or partner with a digital agency. This is a question many brands come to as they strive to grow into the business they want to become. 


For the most part, an agency offers flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and convenience. On the other hand, hiring web developers in-house means they are entirely dedicated to your brand—but at a cost. 

This decision can have an immense impact on your team’s ability to implement a digital marketing strategy, keep your website optimized, prevent any downtime on your website, and put your best foot forward when it comes to your brand’s digital presence. 

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Pros & Cons: In-House Web Developers versus a Digital Agency

According to Glassdoor, the average total annual pay for web developers in the US is about $104,000. CareerFoundry found the average backend developer salary expectation is around $128,000 per year.

Developers are an indispensable part of any modern business but paying that salary is simply not feasible for many brands and businesses.

And truthfully, that figure doesn’t tell the full story—it ignores specific factors that can influence salaries, such as skill set, location, cost of living, and level of experience.

As you can see, whether you choose to hire in-house web developers or partner with a digital agency, each strategy will come with its pros and cons. You’ll need to consider all of these variables when deciding which route is best for your business needs. 

So what are the right variables to keep in mind? Let’s look at the yeas and nays of both options.

Partnering with a Digital Agency 


· An agency is more flexible and can scale up or down as needed. 

· They’re usually more cost-effective than hiring in-house developers. 

· No need for you to provide them with benefits (e.g., a 401k or health insurance). 


· You have less control over their work schedule and deadlines. 

· If they have many clients, they may not give your project the attention you paid for. 

Hiring In-House Web Developers 


· They are entirely dedicated to your brand. 

· You have more control over their work schedule and deadlines. 


· High salary expectations.

· You have to provide benefits. 

· High turnover rate for top talent. 

And the Winner Is…

Not to be anti-climactic, but one size rarely fits all. 

If you have the budget, then usually hiring an in-house developer is going to be your best option

Why? They will always be focused on your website and your brand will always come first.

However—as mentioned above—in-house developers come with a hefty price tag. For most brands, adding a full-time developer just may not be financially feasible. 

And beyond the cost of adding a qualified, in-house developer to your staff, your scope of work just may not require a full-time developer or programmer always at the ready. 

If you fit into this second group, hiring an agency is absolutely the way to go.

For Your Consideration

When it comes time to hire or change developers, also consider these variables when making your decision on which route is best for your brand’s needs:


An agency will offer you the flexibility to scale up or down the scope of work as needed. 

They will be able to offer you a la carte services as opposed to an annual contract like most in-house developers. This allows for much more breathing room in your budget and also the ability to pay only for what you need—when you need it. 

Cost Effectiveness 

Hiring an agency maximizes cost efficiency because you’re only paying for the work that is being done—you’re not incurring the additional costs associated with maintaining full-time staff, such as health insurance, paid vacation days, sick days, a 401k, etc. 

Not to mention, agencies have account managers who act as liaisons between you and the developer(s) working on your project. This eliminates the need for you to micromanage the project, freeing up valuable time to focus elsewhere. 

Agency staff members are also generally more experienced than entry-level in-house developers because they’ve likely worked with a variety of clients across different industries. 


An agency will save you the headache and stress of having to find, interview, hire, and train new developers when your workload overwhelms your current staff—which it inevitably will at some point. Working with an agency eliminates this process because all of those tasks are handled by the account manager.

Additionally, if an agency employee working on your project leaves the agency or is otherwise unavailable, another equally qualified person can easily step in without any interruption in service.

Such continuity is not always possible with in-house staff, since there’s usually only one person responsible for a specific task or area within a company. If that person becomes unavailable for any reason (e.g., maternity leave, vacation), it can slow down progress on a project or cause delays altogether. 

Wrapping Things Up

Not to be a broken record, but there’s no right answer when it comes to deciding whether to hire in-house web developers or partner with an agency. 

Ultimately, your decision depends on what makes sense for your brand. You will need to consider numerous factors like the size of your team, your budget, and the level of expertise needed. 

But now that you know the pros and cons (and hiring variables) of both options, you can decide which route is best for your business needs. 

If you need help with this important decision, reach out to us and we’d be happy to chat with you about your specific situation! We’re digital matchmakers and that’s our specialty.